The National Party will support a Green MPs bill requiring country of origin labelling on single ingredient food such as fruit and meat in a U-turn Prime Minister Bill English said was due to consumer preferences.
Steffan Browning's Consumers' Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill will have its first reading in Parliament soon and is set to go to select committee after National agreed to support it.
It will require mandatory country of origin labelling for fresh single ingredient foods such as meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts as well as oils and flour.
That was a shift from National's original decision to oppose it. English said there had been "quite a bit of discussion" in National's caucus about it.
"It's just reflecting pretty strong consumer preferences."
About 70 per cent of New Zealanders said they wanted country of origin labelling on fresh, tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables in a survey commissioned by Horticulture New Zealand and Consumer NZ last month.
English said National would decide after the select committee process whether to continue to support it into law. About 80 per cent of single ingredient foods were already labelled with the country of origin.
"It is about whether it is feasible or desirable to require the rest of them to label."
He said the initial decision to oppose it was because National was always sceptical about new regulation, especially if it felt most people's needs were being met by the current regulation. There was also some concern about whether it would impact on trade agreements.
Browning said it was "fantastic news" for consumers if it went ahead and could help boost sales of New Zealand produce and meat.
The main supermarket chains were already doing it in Australia so it was not much of a stretch to do so in New Zealand.
It had been in place in Australia since the early 2000s and "now it's New Zealanders' time".